Growing as a wildlife artist - Learning to expand your horizons

With a new painting comes a new experience. As I continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone I find that I learn each day. When I began this painting I had no real direction, only an idea. I have watched and admired Great Horned owls all my life and I finally had the courage to capture what I always have been dreaming of. 

great horned owl - wildlife art

About this painting:

Great-horned owls have always inspired me. The most fondest memory I have of them was when I was a teenager. I was sitting in the woods at our family property in Western Wisconsin. It was quiet. I remember hearing a sudden rush of air and right as I glanced to my left my heart dropped at this owl came swooping directly at me. In a split second it was perched on the limp just a few feet from me. It had absolutely no clue I was there. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I was frozen with amazement. The rush of this magnificent animal from out of the shadows was so moving. I had witnessed an amazing moment in nature. 

As I gazed on and watched it assess it's surroundings, it turned it's head towards me and we locked eyes. I saw a quick flinch radiate throughout it's body when it realized I was there. Instead of taking off, it began to head-bob up, down, side to side and in circles. I almost laughed it was so amusing. Then as quick as it came it flew off and disappeared in silence.

This was certainly a significant moment in my life. I was beginning to appreciate our wildlife one experience at a time. It was times like these that eventually lead me to pursuing my career wildlife conservation. I'll never forget that moment when I saw him swoop in from out of the dark. That feeling of your heart dropping from such a sight is something that can only be explained by experience. If you're a wildlife appreciator I'm sure you've had similar experiences to what I am describing and I hope you feel it in this painting just as I do.

If you would like to purchase this original painting it is available here. I also have prints starting at just $18 in my online store.

Watch the time-lapse of this video - 


The struggle:

As you watch the video pay attention to the beginning. I went through a lot of trial and error to get to the finished product. I talked about the grand idea I had for this painting at the beginning of this post. I wanted to capture that experience I had in the wild. The problem was that I didn't have a reference photo for that, only memory. I've been stretching myself on the easel in order to grow as an artist. I felt that I was ready to tackle this idea, but there was only a lot of hope and not much confidence. 

Over and over I worked this owl with my brush. About midway through I wasn't sure if I could get this to happen. Through hours of struggle I found one moment of hope. An opening so to speak where I could see my end product. Then just like that it seemed to happen and things came together. The results are something I'm thrilled with! Going through the fear of not being able to make it happen was a very satisfying experience for me as an artist. I'm now feeling better about my approach towards my art and ready to challenge myself again.

 Become part of our community

Get free shipping when you sign up!


Thanks for taking the time to check out my newest painting and be sure to follow me on facebook if you haven't already. Also be sure to leave a comment or send me any questions you may have. Happy painting everyone!

Chuck Black


1 comment

  • Danita

    It’s beautiful. I kind of had the same experience only it happened so quick that I didn’t see it very well. Felt the air from its wings as it swooped down so quickly. I enjoy and appreciate your paintings so much. I love nature ànd wildlife and you inspire me. Thank you Chuck for sharing.

Leave a comment